A Sign? Luck? Or Am I Just Crazy? - The Ramblings Of A Fledgling Cook Blog at Allrecipes.com - 210278

The Ramblings Of A Fledgling Cook

A sign? Luck? Or am I just crazy? 
Dec. 9, 2010 5:57 am 
Updated: Dec. 10, 2010 7:21 am

Yesterday, I decided I wanted to go treasure hunting uptown. Now I don't mean Tiffany lamps or Persian rugs - I mean cook books. Sometimes I think I enjoy collecting those more than I do cooking (blasphemy - I know.) So after dropping the husband off at the doctor (where he couldn't judge my escapade), I headed over to the local antiques store that I'd just found out about a few weeks ago.

As soon as I walk into the door, what do I spot? A copy of All Recipes: 30 Minutes to Cook. At first I thought I was going a bit crazy as I had no idea this place had a book published (granted I "should" have known - but I did not.) Now considering I'd just made my blog on here the day before, I started wondering if this was a sign. I mean - it was right there, as soon as I stepped in. I flipped through and saw the book was in perfect condition. Asking price: $2. Yes, that book came home with me. Along with about 10 others :) I informed the lady there she'd have quite a bit of business from me in the coming months. She had about 1,000 cookbooks total so you can just imagine me floating around in there.

So this leads me to my question - for all of you who have enormous amounts of cookbooks (or if you are just getting started like I am) - what are some must haves for a cook's collection? If you have an interesting story behind how you got it, please tell :) I'm always looking for more books to add and who better to ask!

(To note, my blog is mostly going to be discussion related. I understand most people go with personal stories and mine won't lack that. But I love getting the reader involved, no matter what site I'm at, this place is no exception!)

Below is my small collection of books so far. We're getting there - slowly but surely!

Cookbook Collection #1
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Cookbook Collection #2
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Info I've Collected
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My Recipe Book
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Dec. 9, 2010 6:33 am
Ah cookbooks, my favorite! I have a ton of them. Don't really use them but I do read them. People think I'm weird. Well at least it isn't weird here :) One must have that comes to my mind is the Joy of Cooking. When I was younger it had somehow gotten it into my mind that if I cooked from that cookbook I would have, I don't know, mastered cooking, or something like that. Silly, silly. Anyway when I finally got it I sat down and read it. I was to scared to cook from it though! :) About a year later I decided I was ready! Failed miserably. :( And on a recipe I knew how to do anyway. So I chalked it up to a bad day and tried again. Failed again. After many many failures (I have never once made a recipe out of there that actually worked and was delicious) I decided the recipes suck but the information in there is really amazing :) I'm sure I'm lying to myself but I'm good with that! So I recommend it for the info not the recipes.
Dec. 9, 2010 6:36 am
Hey Faith, my goto cookbook for anything and everything is The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. It was given to me when I got married inside a pot. I don't have the pot anymore but the book is nice a worn in. It has everything from explaining what type of meat comes from what part of the animal, to how to pick out veggies, to multiple ways of using one recipe to make 10! It's old with old recipes but it's my "cooking bible" so to speak. And I use my mom's Betty Crocker binder from the 60's!! I also love Paula Deen, you can't have enough butter! But AR is also my cookbook to. I'm in it every day. Gotta go, talk to ya later!
Dec. 9, 2010 6:37 am
I have several of my Grandma's old church cookbooks that have a few of her recipes in them. When I was a teenager my Grandma gave me an empty cookbook that I could write my own recipes in. At the time I didn't appreciate it but now, I wish that I had sat down with Grandma and wrote down all her recipes. My dad has her pound cake recipes but I can't tell you how many recipes I lost out on. My Grandma was the oldest of 8 kids and she was in charge of cooking in the household. All that knowledge I could have had not to mention all the wonderful stories she liked to tell. So, I think for your collection, you should have at least one empty cookbook for family recipes or even your own recipes and any knowledge you can get from family and friends. It may not sound like a good idea now but 20 years from now you will be happy to have family secret recipes. I hate that I missed out on my Grandms's Chicken Pot Pie recipe.
Dec. 9, 2010 7:05 am
Rae, lol, you sound like me! I think I enjoy reading them more than cooking from them also. I don't know why - its just so much fun (and ones with pictures are always guaranteed to get you in a cooking/eating mood!) I'm sorry to hear your recipe from J.o.C. didn't turn out (any of them for that matter.) My grandma had an old copy which I now own but so far all I've done is read it. I'm too scared to cook out of it (and hearing your story - apparently I'm not the only one.) The lady yesterday tried to get me to buy a copy but I told her I'd stick to my one already :)
Dec. 9, 2010 7:08 am
Dragonfly, I will definitely look for that book (if not at the shop - then online.) I've heard of it before but never knew if it was any good. It sounds like it would have been a dream for my parents if they were into cookbooks. I'd love to have it as I should know a lot more about "farming" food than I do (I really needed to pay more attention growing up!) My grandma had a Pet binder from the 40s - I want to use it so badly but its so worn, I'm terrified to. And amen about P.D. - she sounds like me when it comes to butter! Hope you have a wonderful day :)
Dec. 9, 2010 7:11 am
Mellie, that made me very nostalgic reading your reply. I know how you feel but from a different perspective (all my grandparents passed before I was born except my mom's mom - she died when I was 6.) She was also the oldest and the family cook. She left my mom two recipe boxes FILLED with recipe cards she wrote up, as well as clippings of stuff she cooked all the time when my mom was growing up. My mom then gave me those two boxes along with all her recipe books. I now have a binder that has (at last count) 800+ recipes in it (all the ones my grandma and mom owned plus tons of recipes I found online, in mags, etc.) Granted I won't use half of them but its something to do. And for the ones I do use - I've noted on them so that later on my kids will know which are which :) There's also a section in the back with little notes from mags as well as from family that have helped in so many cases. So it sounds like a great idea to me b.c I really enjoyed putting it together and it preserves family recipes that have been around for almost 100 years now (my grandma was born in 1918 - started cooking at around age 5-6.)
Dec. 9, 2010 7:21 am
morning Faith, I have been given many Company's Coming cookbooks over the years, very simple recipes with basic kitchen staples. I found some old Betty Crocker and House and Home cook books that I loved and my gramma gave me a cherished old Ukrainian cookbood which is treasured. It comes complete with stains and a rubber sealer band to hold it together. Welcome to the world of blogging:)
Dec. 9, 2010 7:23 am
Good Morning Faith, my favorite goto cookbooks are; The Mennonite Ladies Cookbook (church cookbook), The Oregon Cookbook, Betty Crocker and All Recipes. There is nothing in this world like a good church cookbook. Mine is worn and stained. Also, for good regional foods, there is nothing like your state cookbook. You shouls see if Carolina has one. I bet there'd be some fabulous recipes in it. Next, how can anyone NOT have a Betty Crocker cookbook. I cut my teeth on that cookbook. My latest love though is All Recipes. I get the bestest recipes from right off this site with the added bonus of chatting it up with great cooks. Have a great day Faith girl.
Dec. 9, 2010 7:25 am
Ah, cookbooks. I have several of them. My favorites to read are any of the America's Test Kitchen or Cooks Illustrated. I take them with me to doctor appointments, etc. to read. I often wonder what people think of me when I'm reading them, especially due to the fact that I am a man. When asked what the last good book I read was I reply, a "cookbook".
Dec. 9, 2010 7:34 am
Morning Redneck (what do you prefer to go by?). It seems everyone goes with Betty Crocker. I'm ashamed to admit I don't own the first one by them. That is another must I need to seek out! And its great that you have the Ukrainian cookbook from your grandma - I can only imagine some of the recipes in there! And stained always = love :)
Dec. 9, 2010 7:34 am
Morning Candice! I'm definitely going to check for a SC book. I have one from Charleston that is great - it has many that I've cooked myself. And I know, I know, its sad that I don't own one of those BC books :D I have lots of their informative pamplets but never got the book. I know there's a brand new one for sale here in town - I think I'll pick it up. And I agree 100% about AR. This site is absolutely wonderful. I've been here since Nov.'08 but never got into the habit of talking much til recently. Nothing beats conversation with others who share a love of cooking and chatting! You have a great day too.
Dec. 9, 2010 7:34 am
BD, I used to love watching A.T.K. Didn't even consider they had a cookbook - another must definitely. Last night I stated in my status that I went book shopping. Many of my friends got quiet when I stated what my "reading material" was. I think its awesome that you read them (guy or not) - I really wish my hubby was into cooking as much as I am!
Dec. 9, 2010 8:22 am
I love to read cookbooks! My favorites are foods from New Orleans, the Amish, and other countries. Still searching for a good one from New Zealand!
Dec. 9, 2010 9:02 am
Good luck searching - I'm sure there are tons of them out there! :) (And I agree about New Orleans - they have some of the best cuisine I've ever eaten.)
Dec. 9, 2010 11:53 am
Hi Faith! I love reading cookbooks and have a nice collection of probably about 50. But where do I go when I need a recipe? To AR of course! I also find myself using my own recipe book quite a bit. It's a collection of mine and my husband's favorite recipes that I put into a binder when we got engaged 2 years ago. Every time we stumble upon a new favorite, it goes into the binder. Looks like you have something similar. I also love my Williams Sonoma cookbooks, but for the most part our favorite recipes (and some of the ones I'm best known for!) come from right here - AR. Sometimes I think I would be lost without this site. Actually, no... I would just have to use my cookbooks more often!
Dec. 9, 2010 11:55 am
The red/whi checkered Better Homes and Gardens spiral bound cookbook is a must have, as it has all the "tried and true" recipes a cook would ever need! It's fun to look for old editions. I have a new one and I found an old one at a garage sale. Also, I like hunting for old Taste of Home magazines.
Dec. 9, 2010 12:28 pm
@ Nancy, hey! I'm the same way - at least 90% of all my cooking comes from AR. I just love to have the others around for the sake of reading them and those sometimes when I wanna fish for something good :) That's so neat yall put together a book of all your fav dishes. My binder is the same - it just also has stuff we'd love to try and family recipes from my side. I think I'd be lost without this place too - just too much I'd miss (and too much work I'd have to do from then on out!)
Dec. 9, 2010 12:29 pm
@ Texas, I've seen those cookbooks before and really would love to get a hold of one. I believe the store I mentioned has a few - another "gotta have" going on my list :) I love the old magazines too. Butchered most of the ones I had (old and new) for my book - but always looking for more! ---- For everyone who told me about the Betty Crocker recipe books - I took a look on eBay. There are SO many varieties of it - not sure where to begin!
Dec. 9, 2010 1:05 pm
Cookbooks... I recently wrote a blog about feeding my addiction - which happens to be cookbooks! I love 'em. Can't get enough of 'em. I believe I have around 300 and I'll admit I don't use most of them, but I love to pull them out and read them from time to time. I received a Betty Crocker cookbook,the big red, spiral bound one for a wedding gift 29 years ago. That is my "old faithful". I searched and searched and found one for my daughter for her wedding 2-1/2 yrs. ago. I love the Taste of Home cookbooks, and my Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream recipe book is well-used, too.
Dec. 9, 2010 3:19 pm
So my question to you is - are you drawn by the pretty pictures of food in a cookbook? a particular style of cooking? or just anything labelled 'food'? LOL! I am all of the above, Like Redneck Gramma, I also have a treasured Ukrainian cookbook handed down to me by my Aunt (daughter of my 'Baba') after she passed away a very long time ago, that is my most treasured cookbook... But I also have come to rely upon the cookbook that came with my KitchenAid - LOVE it! I also have a love of Mexican/Spanish food and probably have in the neighbourhood of 10-12 cookbooks/magazines related to 'Sabores Latina' (Latin Flavours), I think one of the absolute WORST cookbooks I could ever have purchased was the Campbell's Soup Cookbook - ick, if there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is to make your OWN dishes out of fresh ingredients rather than relying on a can of whatever soup, I feel like donating that book to the local soup kitchen.... :D! Great blog! glad I stumbled upon in it tonight while cruising the blog section! Keep at it Faith! ;)
Dec. 9, 2010 7:29 pm
Nice blog Faith! My best cookbooks were Betty Crocker & Pillsbury, as well as church/hometown type cookbooks. Recipes made by real people, right? I like looking at old cookbooks too, and found a Frugal Gourmet cookbook for 50 cents. He used to be on the public TV channel years ago and DH & I liked to watch him. BTW, Lady Sparkle gave us some cooking magazines for our Midwest AR Roundup and I have been trying some recipes out of those.
Dec. 9, 2010 7:51 pm
Mother Ann, wow, 300 - that's what I'm talking about :) At this rate that will take awhile but I'd love to have such a variety. I'm truly an addict for them! I found a Betty Crocker cookbook from 1950 online today - not missing any pages. A bit pricey though so I'll keep looking around :)
Dec. 9, 2010 7:54 pm
Gitano, haha, I'm really not picky at all :) Although I do browse through many briefly to see if there are at least a couple dishes I know we'll all try. Most of my books were gifts (an older lady I helped out and she gave me hers, my mom, among others) - so those I took just to take. I have also purchased a lot of church/local recipe books (not local here but local to wherever they were created, lol) and they have some great, simply recipes. Like Magnolia said, real people food! I am fondest of mexican dishes, so if I see a recipe book with that on the cover, I'm a lot more likely to grab it before browsing :P I bought one of the Campbell's cookbooks and agree with you. I'd take some of the basic layouts and put homemade soup in them - then they may be alright :) Thanks so much for the compliment - I hope I can come up with some better stuff later on!
Dec. 9, 2010 7:55 pm
@ Magnolia, my Pillsbury C.B. that came from my grandma was well used. Apparently its general consensus that its close up there with Betty Crocker :) I agree about the church recipe books - I also own a few Inn books and they are loaded with recipes as well as the history of where they originated. I love it! Good luck with the meals from the magazines - I do love them almost as equally as cookbooks :)
Dec. 10, 2010 7:21 am
Gitano, your Campbell's Soup comment cracked me up. My Mom bought me the same book for Christmas a couple years ago and all the recipes look so yucky! I hardly ever use canned soup in my cooking. But alas, this is the way my Mom cooks so she probably thought I would like it... I keep it on the shelf and have a good chuckle whenever I lay eyes on it.
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Faith N

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About Me
Hello! I'm Faith, a 27 year old work from home mom to two sons (8 & 5.) I'm married to my best friend, Michael. We've been together for almost 11 years now. I'm not sure how he's dealt with me this long! I mainly cook for my family and a few close friends. I love them all for being my willing guinea pigs. I'm not the best by any means but I love to try anything new.
My favorite things to cook
Most of the stuff I cook could be considered comfort food. Not the healthiest method of cooking but if I can substitute something with a healthier alternative I'll do so. Growing up my family's weekly menu was pretty small. Venison, chicken, hamburger, veggies - anything my parents could hunt, grow or make. Growing up on a farm definitely had its ups & downs. A variety of food was not in the "up" category. I always wanted to try something new but their income said otherwise. We couldn't afford to try something we didn't like and didn't finish. Now that I can enjoy both homegrown and purchased ingredients, I am willing to try anything new that sounds good to my family and I.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Two sweet potato pies and a turkey are mandatory at Thanksgiving while white chocolate fudge and a ham is a must during Christmastime.
My cooking triumphs
Barbecue pulled pork, venison meatloaf & homemade butter biscuits.
My cooking tragedies
I will never forget the absolute worst thing I have ever cooked, a Manicotti dish. It was right after we got our own place back in 2005 and I was going to be brave and try something that wasn't Hamburger Helper or grilled cheese sandwiches. It had too much basil, the noodles didn't finish all the way and the sauce blackened at the end. We tried to choke it down but ended up getting takeout. Since then, I think my skills have vastly improved!
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